Law of Contract

Topics: Contract / Pages: 7 (1651 words) / Published: Sep 5th, 2008
contract but do not appear to be a relevant issue here.
While it is possible for offers to be "made to the world”1, K 's advertisement is an
"invitation to treat"2. It cannot be construed as an offer as it shows no intention on K 's part to be bound to its terms, in contrast to the wording of the advertisement in Carlill v
Carbolic Smoke Ba// Co3.
Thus A 's letter to K dated 21 April is the first possibility of an offer. However the terms of this letter are too vague to be construed as an offer. This is because an offer must contain all the terms necessary for the contract to come into existence4. Offering to work for a fee "between $12000-$20000" is not certain enough to constitute an offer and the letter is more appropriately seen as a supply of information only5.
Thus K 's letter to A on 24 April is, contrary to K 's belief, merely an offer, not an acceptance. The nature of K 's letter implies a clear intention to be bound by the terms of the enclosed contract and the letter sets out the method by which the signed contract is to be returned. As this is an offer, not acceptance, A is considered to have received the offer on 28 April.
This raises a question as to whether:
(a) the offer is the letter itself, with the "contract" document to be signed an event that does nothing more than put the already agreed terms in writing; or (b) the enclosed contract is itself the offer made by K.
These issues are similar to those dealt with by the High Court in Masters v Cameron6.
However that case dealt with the issue of what constituted acceptance and so is not a direct precedent for the issue in this case.
1 See eg Carhill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (1893) 1 QB 256
2 Eg Boots Cash Chemist (1953) 1 QB 401
3 Op. cit.
4 G. Scammell & Nephew Ltd v H.C and J.G Ouston [1941] AC 251: but cf. Hillas & Co. Arcos Ltd [1932]
All ER 494
5 Eg Harvey v Facey (1893) AC 552
6 (1954) 91 CLR 353
In any event K directs A to sign and return the contract "by express

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